One of my clients recently had a bad experience with Amazon as she rushed to get her book to market on a deadline. Part of her manuscript had previously appeared on her blog. In other words, her book is partially a booked blog. Much to her dismay, her book was not immediately approved. Instead, she received an email telling her the book was under review. Only a few days later was her account “unblocked,” and the book published, making her book “late” and causing her a fair amount of stress.
She is the not first author with a blogged book or a booked blog to have this experience, or at least a similar one, while publishing on Amazon. That doesn’t mean you can’t publish your blogged book or booked blog on Amazon. You most definitely can. And many have with much less anxiety.
In fact, you can make sure your Amazon Kindle (or CreateSpace) experience is a pleasant one by understanding why things happen the way they do and being prepared for the process. Let’s look at what normally happens and why.
The “Temporary Hold” Email
When you upload your blogged book on Amazon as an ebook, or even as a pbook, you will be asked early in the process if you own the rights to the material. This happens as you fill out the application. Later, once you’ve actually uploaded your document to the system, if Amazon discovers the material in your book also exists on the Internet it will put a temporary hold on publication to determine if you do, indeed, hold the rights to the material. At this point, you will receive an email notifying you that this has occurred.
Brittany Turner, an Amazon representative explains this process: “When submitting content that is also freely available on the web (such as content from their blog), a temporary hold may be placed on the book until the author confirms they have publishing rights to and control where the book is distributed.”
That means that you have to prove the content in your book came from your personal blog, and not someone else’s blog, and that you do, indeed, have rights to the content and to decide how and where that content is distributed. “These should both be true for someone’s personal blog,” says Turner, which means you won’t have a problem getting your blogged book approved.
Proving to Amazon You Own Your Blog Content
When you get that email from Amazon saying your book has been placed on temporary hold and that you have to prove you are the rights holder, don’t panic. Simply comply with Amazon’s requests. Remember, as a book blogger getting one of these emails is an inevitability if you self-publish using Amazon. It’s best to be prepared. So, here’s what you will need to provide when that email shows up:
1. The URLs for all websites where the content is published.
2. An explanation as to why the content is available online.
Turner stressed that this information must be sent to Amazon within five days. “Once that occurs the book should be cleared for sale shortly after,” she said. “If authors have questions they can always get in touch with us here: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/contact-us.”
Don’t expect to be able to call anyone with questions or to have a conversation. They won’t call you either. Your only communication about the rights to your blogged material will be by email.
Kindle vs. KDP
Some writers and bloggers have the wrong impression that Amazon’s KDP Select program does not allow publication of bogged material. As a blogger, you can choose to publish your blogged material in an ebook with the normal Kindle program or the KDP Select program (or through CreateSpace as a print on demand book); both allow blogged material. According to Turner, “KDP does allow writers to sell material previously published on the Internet, as long as they are the rights holder.”
What KDP Select does not allow you to do is distribute your ebook anywhere other than Amazon for at least three months (depending upon the terms you agree to). If you visit the site, you can read this explanation of the program’s exclusive publishing agreement:
“When you choose KDP Select for a book, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP. During the period of exclusivity, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital.”
That means you can’t upload it distributors like Smashwords.com, Nook or Bookbaby.com, or anywhere else. The only one who can sell the ebook version of your booked blog or blogged book is Amazon–not even you. And the only people who will be able to read your ebook are those who own a Kindle.
If you publish your ebook using the regular Kindle program, you can still distribute your book using other channels, and you can sell it from your blog or website.
While finding your book on temporary hold may be disturbing—even annoying, remember, this action is to protect you. You wouldn’t want someone to publish your blogged material in their book, right? To ensure that doesn’t happen, Amazon verifies ownership of previously published material on the Internet. So, it’s all good…(until I hear otherwise anyway).